Curry Suffers MCL Injury
Stephen Curry (ankle) looked great through the first three quarters in his return from a six-game absence on Friday, racking up 29 points, three triples, seven rebounds, one assist, one block and one turnover in 25 minutes; but JaVale McGee fell hard into Curry’s left knee late in the third quarter and after slowly limping his way back to the locker room he was diagnosed with an MCL injury. Not good.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) March 24, 2018
Curry will undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the degree of the sprain, but he’s guaranteed to miss time with this injury, and his absence could very well extend into the first-round of the playoffs. The injury looked very similar to last year when Zaza Pachulia fell back into Kevin Durant’s knee, which resulted in a Grade 2 MCL sprain and cost him six weeks on the shelf. Curry suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain to his right knee during the 2016 postseason, and while he was able to get back to the court in 15 days, he never did quite look right through the rest of the playoffs. With the postseason just three weeks away, I don’t think there’s any way that we’ll see Curry again during the regular season, so he’s a cut-candidate in all re-draft leagues.
This means that Quinn Cook should finish the year as the Dubs’ starting point guard, and he’ll continue to work with a robust usage rate while Kevin Durant (ribs), Klay Thompson (thumb) and Draymond Green (pelvic strain) are also out. He finished Friday’s win with 13 points, eight boards, six assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 32 minutes, and he’s essentially a must-own guy at this point.
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Uncle Drew Needs Work On Them Knees
The Celtics announced on Friday that Kyrie Irving will undergo a minimally invasive procedure on his ailing left knee, and he’s currently without an official timetable to return. It’s pretty clear that he won’t be back anytime soon, though, so he’s a cut-candidate just about everywhere. Terry Rozier will continue to log heavy minutes in his absence, and there will be more shots to go around for the rest of the starters. Rozier is must-own, as is Marcus Morris.
D’Angelo Russell recorded his first-career, triple-double on Friday, tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two turnovers in a four-point loss to the Raptors. The turnovers and up-and-down shooting can be annoying, but D’Lo will have every opportunity to end the year on a high note.
Tim Hardaway Jr. came through with a career-high 39 points on 14-of-25 shooting (5-of-7 from the stripe) to go with six 3-pointers, two rebounds, three assists, three steals and two turnovers in 36 minutes. He’s been on quite the tear since the All-Star break as the main man in New York, pumping out averages of 20.8 points, 2.4 triples, 2.4 dimes, 0.9 steals and just 1.6 turnovers per game on 45.5% shooting, which has been good enough for top-55 value in 9-cat leagues.
LaMarcus Aldridge netted a new career-high 45 points in Friday’s 124-120 overtime win over Utah, adding nine rebounds, one 3-pointer, two assists, one steal, three blocks and four turnovers across 41 minutes. Aldridge seemingly couldn’t miss in this one, going 19-of-28 from the field and 6-of-8 from the stripe for an elite 71.4 true shooting percentage to accompany his ridiculous 40.1 usage rate, and with the Spurs getting the win, they are now the No. 6 seed out West. As long as the Spurs are relevant in the playoff hunt, I wouldn’t expect much random rest from LMA.
On the Radar
Larry Nance (hamstring) returned from a four-game absence and produced 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 22 minutes off the bench. He did most of his damage during the second half with the game being a massive blowout, and the solid stat line does come with a slight asterisk as he did it against the Suns, but if Nance can consistently get minutes in the mid-20s he’ll be worth owning. That could be difficult with Kevin Love now back, but this game was a positive sign. He’s worth grabbing in deep leagues, but I’d use a wait-and-see approach in 12-team leagues with just 13 roster spots.
John Collins (left ankle) returned from a two-game absence on Friday, and while he did briefly leave the game after rolling that same left ankle early in the second quarter, he was able to get back out there after getting his ankle re-taped and finished with nine points (4-of-7 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), seven rebounds, one assist, one block and one turnover in 32 minutes. He should be fine for Sunday’s game in Houston, and with no back-to-back sets next week, he’ll be good for three games. He’s worth swooping up if you need a big.
Shabazz Muhammad made the most of some increased opportunity with Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) out on Friday, scoring 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with two 3-pointers, five boards, three assists, two steals, one block and zero turnovers in just 20 minutes off the bench. The line does feel a bit fluky as he did this against one of the worst teams in the league and scored with remarkable efficiency, but he could be someone to consider streaming on Sunday against the Spurs if Antetokounmpo is out again. Just don’t expect much outside of points.
Brandon Jennings also capitalized on the increased opportunity with The Greek Freak unavailable, finishing with 16 points (5-of-11 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), two 3-pointers, four rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and one turnover in 28 minutes off the bench. Jennings is as inconsistent as they come, but he’ll be on the radar as a potential deep league streamer while Antetokounmpo is out.
John Henson came through with an 11-point, 12-board double-double in Friday’s win, adding one assist, one block and his first, career 3-pointer over 28 minutes. Henson has attempted just 11 triples over his six-year career, so that’s obviously not going to become a thing, but he’s a fine low-end big to own as a shot-blocking specialist.
Cameron Payne had another strong outing, scoring 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting (3-of-3 from the stripe) to go with two 3-pointers, four rebounds, six assists, one steal and one turnover in 31 minutes. He did tweak his ankle, but got right back out there after a quick trip to the locker room and said he planned to play on Saturday. Kris Dunn (toe) won’t be back anytime soon, so Payne should continue to hold down the fort at PG, and with averages of 11.3 points, 2.0 triples, 7.0 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.8 swats and 2.0 turnovers as a starter this season, he’s worth a look in most leagues.
The good Denzel Valentine came to play on Friday, as he finished with 20 points (7-of-13 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), four trey-bombs, five boards, three dimes, two steals, one swat and five turnovers across 32 minutes. He’ll continue to see an increased workload while Dunn and Zach LaVine (knee) are out, but his volatile inconsistency makes him more of a deep league guy.
Jarrett Allen racked up another three swats in Friday’s narrow loss to Toronto on his way to 13 points (3-of-7 FGs, 7-of-7 FTs), seven rebounds, one assist and one turnover through 26 minutes as a starter. He’s finally putting his shot-blocking prowess on display, and he’s really come alive over the past four with averages of 8.0 points, 6.8 boards and a whopping 3.0 swats per contest on 52.6% shooting from the field and 85.7% from the stripe. He should be owned everywhere.
Nick Young drilled six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, two boards, one assist and zero turnovers in 26 minutes. He doesn’t do much aside from score and hit triples, but he’ll be a reliable source of those stats while Klay Thompson (thumb), Kevin Durant (ribs) and Stephen Curry (knee) are out.
Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) said he will play Saturday against the Hornets, and considering he only missed two games, he shouldn’t have any major restrictions. His return will likely push J.J. Barea back to the second unit, and Barea’s value will suffer a slight hit with the demotion. DSJ can really hurt your squads FG%, but if you’re okay with some lame shooting, he should do enough with the points, triples, dimes and steals to warrant ownership in deep leagues. He’s must-own in points leagues.
Frank Ntilikina started the second half on Friday and finished with 13 points (5-of-12 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), two 3-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one turnover in 37 minutes. He’ll be inconsistent, but if New York turns him loose over the final few weeks of the season, he could establish himself as a low-end PG in deep leagues. I’d like to see a repeat performance before recommending him as an add in most places, though.
Trey Burke scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting (2-of-4 from the line) to go with one 3-pointer, two rebounds, nine assists, two steals and three turnovers in 31 minutes off the bench. He’s been heating up over the past few weeks with averages of 13.7 points, 3.9 dimes, 1.6 triples and just 1.6 turnovers per game on 55.6% shooting, so he’s on the radar in deep leagues.
Nemanja Bjelica scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting (2-of-4 from the line) to go with three 3-pointers, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and one turnover in 38 minutes. He’ll continue to log major minutes for however long Jimmy Butler (knee) is out, and as a guy that can offer you a little bit of everything without really hurting you anywhere, he’s worth owning in all leagues.
Kyle Anderson ripped away another four steals on his way to five points, seven rebounds, three assists, one block and three turnovers in 25 minutes. He won’t do much for you in the scoring department, but his ability to rack up the defensive stats at an elite level partnered with a steady stream of dimes is what drives his value. Kawhi Leonard’s (quad) timetable keeps getting pushed back, and it’s started to look like he won’t play again this season, so Anderson should continue to provide sneaky top-75 value in 9-cat leagues.
Kelly Oubre scored 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting (2-of-4 from the line) to go with three 3-pointers, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, one swat and one turnover in 27 minutes off the bench. He’s been on quite the hot streak over the past three, pumping out averages of 17.3 points, 4.3 boards, 2.7 triples, 1.7 steals, 1.0 block and just 1.0 turnover per game on 51.3% shooting, so he should be owned in most leagues.
Troy Daniels scored 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting to go with six trey-bombs, six rebounds, one assist and one turnover through 33 minutes as a starter. As long as Devin Booker (hand) is out, Daniels will be a reliable source of points and triples in deep leagues.
Marquese Chriss randomly had a good game, coming through with 19 points, 10 boards, one triple, three assists, one steal, two blocks and one turnover in 35 minutes. Cool. Now let’s see him do it again before getting too excited.
Fred VanVleet netted 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with four triples, six boards, one assist, one steal, one block and zero turnovers in 32 minutes off the bench. He’s been playing really well over the past few weeks, owning averages of 12.3 points, 3.5 assists, 2.7 triples, 1.0 steal and just 0.5 turnovers per game on 48.2% shooting, so he could be someone to consider streaming on Sunday. Just know that the Raptors only have two games next week.
Wayne Ellington scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with four 3-pointers, four boards and two assists in 26 minutes off the bench. If you need a cheap source of treys, Ellington is your man.
Marcus Morris scored a game-high 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting (7-of-7 from the line) to go with five trey-bombs, two rebounds and one turnover through 35 minutes as a starter. Since Jaylen Brown (concussion) and Kyrie Irving (knee) hit the sidelines, Morris has seen a lot more shots falling his way and over the past two weeks, he’s been flirting with top-60 value behind averages of 19.7 points, 6.0 boards, 2.5 triples and 1.0 steal per game on 46.7% shooting. Brown could get back to the court by Sunday, but Morris should still see an uptick in usage while Irving is out, and he’s worth owning in most leagues while he’s this hot.
Greg Monroe double-doubled in 20 minutes off the bench, finishing with 10 points, 10 boards, four assists, two blocks and four turnovers. Since Irving hit the sidelines, Monroe has seen his usage spike to 27.2 and he’s responded with averages of 13.3 points, 6.8 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 swats and 3.0 turnovers per game on 58.6% shooting from the field and 80.0% from the stripe. Give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
John Wall (knee) could go through 5-on-5 work at Saturday’s practice, but head coach Scott Brooks said he’ll need to go through multiple full-contact practices before he can return to the court, meaning he won’t play Sunday against the Knicks and Tuesday vs. the Spurs also seems unlikely. Wall is probably going to have a minutes limit upon his return, so if your playoffs end at Week-24, there’s not much incentive to stash him. If the playoffs in your league go all the way to the bitter end, there’s nothing wrong with keeping Wall tucked away in an IR-spot, but it’s still a bit too early to justify him taking up an active roster spot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Friday’s game with an ankle issue, although an MRI revealed just minor swelling in the joint, and he’s reportedly expected back “sooner rather than later.” The Bucks play again on Sunday against the Spurs, so maybe it’ll just be a one-game absence, but owners can expect to get another update by Sunday morning’s shootaround at the latest. If he’s out again, Jabari Parker will draw another start, and basically, everyone will be asked to step it up on offense.
Chris Paul (hamstring) is doubtful to play Saturday vs. the Pelicans, and there are no guarantees he’ll be able to make it back out there for Sunday’s game against the Hawks. The Rockets can win without CP3, and with the No. 1 seed essentially locked up with Golden State dealing with a slew of injuries of their own, there’s very little incentive to rush Paul back to the court. Hamstring injuries have a high risk of aggravation if brought back too soon, so I wouldn’t anticipate seeing him again until he’s clearly 100% healthy. I’d hold off on cutting Paul until we had an official timetable, but with just three games next week, cutting him will be an option if he’s ruled out for Tuesday’s game against the Bulls. Eric Gordon will continue to start in his absence, and Gerald Green will be a larger part of the rotation, while James Harden will dominate the offense.
Lauri Markkanen (back) returned from a five-game absence on Friday, scoring nine points on 3-of-7 shooting to go with six rebounds and one 3-pointer over 22 minutes. He’ll be rested on Saturday, and another rest day could be on the table next week with the Bulls set for a Thursday-Friday back-to-back set.
Draymond Green (pelvic contusion) joined Kevin Durant (ribs) and Klay Thompson (thumb) on the sidelines Friday night, but while KD and Thompson are dealing with long-term injuries, it might only end up being a one-game absence for Green (they were playing the Hawks after all). Omri Casspi (ankle) also sat out Friday’s game and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s matchup with the Jazz.
Dwyane Wade (hamstring) returned from a five-game absence, finishing with seven points, one rebound, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 20 minutes off the bench. Leave him on the wire.
Dennis Schroder rolled his left ankle early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss, but he played through it and finished with 16 points, seven assists, three rebounds, one steal and four turnovers in 29 minutes. While he was able to play through the ankle issue, this is the sort of thing that could swell up on him overnight, so it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see him sit on Sunday in Houston, which would likely result in Isaiah Taylor drawing another start. Anytime Schroder misses time, Taylor will be on the radar as a potential streamer.
T.J. Warren (knee) missed his second game in a row on Friday and is not expected to play Saturday against the Magic. It would be nice if we could get a clear idea on Warren’s timetable, but the reality is that Phoenix is playing to lose and there’s zero incentive to rush Warren’s return, particularly when his absence leads to more developmental opportunity for Josh Jackson. He’s a cut-candidate for those in a tough playoff battle.
Devin Booker (hand) also sat out Friday’s game, although he did go through warmups, which suggests he’s close. He should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game, and if he is able to get back out there, Troy Daniel will return to the second unit and his value would take a fairly large hit.
Brandon Ingram (groin) is listed as out for Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies, the Lakers are in no rush to bring him back and have yet to offer an official timetable, so he belongs on the waiver wire in most leagues at this point. Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Julius Randle will continue to pick up the slack in his absence.
Jonathon Simmons (wrist) and Jonathan Isaac (foot) are doubtful to play Saturday vs. the Suns. Mario Hezonja should see a spike in minutes with these guys out, with Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic doing more on offense.
Kris Dunn (toe) did not play Friday and should be considered doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Pistons. He’s still in a walking boot, so he belongs on the waiver wire in most leagues. Cameron Payne will continue to start in his absence. *
Rodney Hood (back) returned from a three-game stint on the sidelines, posting nine points, three boards and one assist in 20 minutes off the bench.
Tristan Thompson (ankle) was also back in action on Friday after missing most of March, finishing with four points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.
Kyle Korver (personal) did not play and should be considered doubtful for Sunday’s game in Brooklyn.
Jeff Green exited Friday’s game with an illness and did not return, finishing with five points, two boards, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 12 minutes.
Shabazz Napier (toe) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against OKC.
Derrick Rose (ankle, always something) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia.
C.J. Miles (gastroenteritis) missed his second game in a row on Friday and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Clippers.
Domantas Sabonis (ankle) missed his fifth game in a row on Friday, although head coach Nate McMillan did say he was feeling better and that he’ll be re-evaluated this weekend. Maybe he’ll be able to get back out there for Sunday’s game against the Heat, but he remains irrelevant in most leagues.
Dante Cunningham (concussion) returned from a three-game stint on the sidelines, posting 10 points, two triples, three boards and two swats in 22 minutes. You’d have to be in a ridiculously deep league to find value in Cunningham.